Gratitude is among us! 'Tis the season for giving thanks. Let's talk turkey.
Each year, at about this time, my family sits down to a big meal and we go around the table and tell one another what we are thankful for. Usually things like family, togetherness and green bean casserole top the list.
These are all groovy items to bestow with our gratitude. But, if I am being honest, they lack a bit in the creativity department. Being thankful for family? Of course you are. Not much thought or contemplation went into that choice. Family is just about everyone's gratitude go-to.
This year, I'm going to challenge the people sitting around the turkey table to be a little more creative and introspective (and I'll be grateful if they are).
We say we are thankful for family, but what does that mean? I am thankful I have a husband who notices when my front tire is low in air and takes it upon himself to replenish it for me.
I am thankful for Sunday fun-days with my family, when we spend quality and quantity time together eating Tater Tot hot dish (or casserole, depending on where you live) and watching zombies on TV.
I appreciate when my kids use the twist tie to seal up the bread. I'm thankful when they spill a bag of popcorn on the floor and take the time to clean it up — mostly.
I am grateful when the cat vomits up a hairball and doesn't plant it on the carpet, or worse yet, the kitchen table. I am extremely thankful when the cat vomits outside, or at least on the tiled bathroom floor.
I am thankful for cats, in general, except when they breathe on my face at 3 a.m. and lick me awake with their sandpaper tongues.
I am thankful for unencumbered, uninterrupted sleep. I remember years when I couldn't count on more than a couple of hours at a time and I yearned longingly for a full night's worth. Now, I look back on those sleep-deprived days and am thankful for memories of sweet baby breath and pudgy baby fingers grasping my thumb as the rhythm of the rocking chair lulled us both to sleep in the middle of the night.
I am thankful for fingerprints on the windows and muddy footprints across the kitchen floor. They make for a messy life, but messy is lived, and living fully is pretty darned paramount to attaining gratitude.
I am thankful for dark chocolate, dark beer, hot tea, tomatoes fresh off the vine and cat treats. (Actually, the cats probably should be the ones who are thankful, but they are too busy interrupting my sleep.)
I value silence. Of course, I appreciate — or attempt to appreciate — the chaos and noise and laughter my family brings into my household and life. It would be awfully quiet without them. They allow me to indulge in occasional silence as though it is a privilege.
I am glad to have people who have seen my temper, lack of directional skills, cooking snafus, morning hair and morning breath, and still choose to like me despite my various bad sides. Heck, they still chose to love me — morning breath and all.
And I might be going out on a limb here, but I think it's not just because I can roast a mean turkey. Although I can. And I will. Because I am thankful.
For my family. I know. That's not very creative. But sometimes truth isn't creative. It's just the truth. You can't change that.
Happy gratitude day, everyone. Count your blessings. Hug the ones you love. And enjoy the turkey — unless you are having Tater Tot hot dish (or casserole). If so, enjoy that.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.